Embodied Cognition (Paperback) book cover

Embodied Cognition

By Lawrence Shapiro

© 2011 – Routledge

242 pages

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About the Book

Embodied cognition often challenges standard cognitive science. In this outstanding introduction, Lawrence Shapiro sets out the central themes and debates surrounding embodied cognition, explaining and assessing the work of many of the key figures in the field, including George Lakoff, Alva Noë, Andy Clark, and Arthur Glenberg.

Beginning with an outline of the theoretical and methodological commitments of standard cognitive science, Shapiro then examines philosophical and empirical arguments surrounding the traditional perspective. He introduces topics such as dynamic systems theory, ecological psychology, robotics, and connectionism, before addressing core issues in philosophy of mind such as mental representation and extended cognition.

Including helpful chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Embodied Cognition is essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, psychology, and cognitive science.


Winner: 2013 American Philosophical Association Joseph P. Gittler Award for an outstanding contribution in the field of philosophy of the social sciences

"Embodied Cognition is sweeping the planet and Larry Shapiro has just written the first comprehensive treatment of this exciting and new research program. This book is now and for years to come will be unquestionably the best way for students and researchers alike, to gain access to and learn to evaluate this exciting, new research paradigm in cognitive science." - Fred Adams, University of Delaware, USA

"A must read for those who support the embodied program, those who question it, and those who are just trying to figure out what the heck it is. It's definitely on the reading list for my course in embodied cognition." - Arthur Glenberg, Arizona State University, USA

"Embodied Cognition provides a balanced and comprehensive introduction to the embodied cognition movement, but also much more. Shapiro is careful to sift empirical results from broader philosophical claims, and the concise, simple arguments for cognition's embodiment that he articulates will help advanced students and researchers assess the diverse literature on this hot topic in cognitive science." - Robert A. Wilson, University of Alberta, Canada

"Embodied Cognition is the first of its kind - a beautifully lucid and even-handed introduction to the many questions and issues that define the field of embodied cognition. Psychologists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, and philosophers should jump on this book. It promises to set the terms of debate in this exciting new enterprise for years to come." - Elliott Sober, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA

"Embodied Cognition is an outstanding introduction to this increasingly important topic in cognitive science. Written in a clear and lively style, with a critical approach, it is a strong contender for the most useful introductory text on any topic in all of cognitive science, and a genuine contribution to the scientific and philosophical literature on embodied cognition." - Kenneth Aizawa, Centenary College of Louisiana, USA

"Embodied cognition is a controversial topic, and extravagant claims have been made both for and against it … scientists would do well to pay attention when a philosopher produces an excellent monograph such as Embodied Cognition by Lawrence Shapiro. Shapiro is a philosopher with an impressive grasp of cognitive science, and he does a superbly thorough job of summarizing the relevant scholarship and evaluating the various claims that have been made." - David Manier, Lehman College, City University of New York, USA

"Shapiro’s discussion of the dynamic systems approach to cognition in general, and the remarkable but difficult work of Randall Beer in particular, are careful and cogent, and will be of great help to students hoping to understand the main thrust of, and the debates sparked by, this still underappreciated research area. Similarly, I find his extended engagement with the extended mind hypothesis—and in particular the long and ongoing debate over whether we should believe that some of the constituents of cognitive processes lie outside the brain - to be clear and compelling. …The book represents a genuine achievement." – Michael L. Anderson, Journal of Consciousness Studies

"Shapiro is a philosopher with an impressive grasp of cognitive science, and he does a superbly thorough job of summarizing the relevant scholarship and evaluating the various claims that have been made. His writing is clear and persuasive, and he never seems tendentious. […] highly readable, evenhanded, and clear to a fault." - PsycCRITIQUES

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Standard Cognitive Science 2. Challenging Standard Cognitive Science 3. Conceptions of Embodiment 4. Embodied Cognition: The Conceptualization Hypothesis 5. Embodied Cognition: The Replacement Hypothesis 6. Embodied Cognition: The Constitution Hypothesis 7. Concluding Thoughts. Glossary. Notes. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Lawrence Shapiro is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, USA. His research currently focuses on the issues and debates around embodied cognition. He is editor (with Brie Gertler) of Arguing About the Mind (2007), also available from Routledge.

About the Series

New Problems of Philosophy

New Problems of Philosophy

Series Editor: José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M University

'Routledge's New Problems of Philosophy series has a most impressive line-up of topical volumes aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and at others with interests in cutting edge philosophical work. The authors are influential figures in their respective fields and notably adept at synthesizing and explaining intricate topics fairly and comprehensively.' - John Heil, Monash University, Australia, and Washington University, St Louis, USA

'This is an outstanding collection of volumes. The topics are well chosen and the authors are outstanding. They will be fine texts in a wide range of courses.' - Stephen Stich, Rutgers University, USA

The New Problems of Philosophy series provides accessible and engaging surveys of the most important problems in contemporary philosophy. Each book examines a topic or theme that has emerged on the philosophical landscape in recent years, or that is a longstanding problem refreshed in light of recent work in philosophy and related disciplines. Clearly explaining the nature of the problem at hand and assessing attempts to answer it, books in the series are excellent starting-points for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to study a single topic in depth. They will also be essential reading for professional philosophers. Additional features include chapter summaries, further reading, and a glossary of technical terms.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body